Is It OK to Put Ice in Your Wine?

Wine shouldn't have ice cubes in it ... or should it?. (Photo: Arthur Caranta [CC by 2.0]/Flickr)

Diane Keaton has her own wine label and it's meant to be served on ice. Maybe she'll help remove the stigma. Diane Keaton's recommendation for how to drink her red and white wines from her new label, The Keaton, may have wine snobs curling up in a fetal position and crying. She wants it — gasp! — served on ice, a huge faux pas in many wine circles where serving wine at the perfect temperature is necessary in order to have a proper experience.

I say drink wine however you want, without or with ice. I know many people who put ice cubes in their wine, and some of them actually apologize as they do it. They'll say something like, "Sorry, I know you're not supposed to, but I like it this way." They are drinking wine to enjoy it, not to analyze its tanins, structure or fruit profile. The fact that they feel it necessary to apologize to me, simply because they know I know a little about wine, makes me think they've been scolded about ice in their wine in the past. They think there is a stigma attached to it. They're right. There is a stigma attached to it, but there shouldn't be.

Anyone who puts ice in wine, or in any beverage, understands that melting ice will dilute a beverage. They are OK with that. Other people should be OK with it, too.

I hope this new wine, which Keaton told People is not fancy because she is not not fancy, will get those who feel self-conscious over plonking an ice cube or two in a wine glass realize it's fine. In fact, they don't even need a wine glass. Keaton drinks her wine in a low ball glass filled with lots of ice. So lets get rid of the perfect glass stigma, too. Yes, there is a rhyme and reason behind wine glass shapes for those who are serious or even just curious about getting the most out of a wine-tasting experience as they can. But, for those who want to drink their wine out of a low ball glass, or a stemless wine glass, or a jelly jar, there should be no scolding.

Personally, I don't put ice in my wine. I prefer my white wines a little warmer than usual (not room temperature, though) because I think white wine is more open at a warmer temperature. I can taste more of the nuances at a warmer temperature, but I understand that not everyone is trying to taste nuances.

As I learn about wine, do proper (and sometimes improper) tastings, and share the experience of wine with other people, I keep coming back to what I think is the most important thing: Wine is a communal experience that brings people together. Excluding anyone from the community because they aren't drinking the wine "properly" is the biggest wine faux pas there is.